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Performing the Political in Drag: An Interview with Olympia Bukkakis
For the Berliner Tanztage in March of this year, the performer Olympia Bukkakis presented ‘Gender Euphoria’, a performance-lecture-cabaret show that proposes drag as a way to experience not only a sense of euphoria, but also a radical utopia, one in which gender and identity are truly unoppressive. In it, Bukkakis is at times a construction worker who physically wrestles with the construction of gender; a lecturer who discusses Judith Butler; a moving sculpture; an emcee. Bukkakis has the ability to be insightful and hilarious in the same breath. At one point, Rosa Luxemburg is presented as a “party girl”. In addition to being incredibly charismatic on stage, she seems most comfortable shape-shifting between different characters, effectively defying categories and asking us to consider drag as innately political. In contrast to the RuPaulian version of drag—which seems to be the dominant image of drag in popular culture—the version Bukkakis champions is critical and complex, implicating everyone’s individual and collective performativity within the crushing constraints of binaries...
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